Although honesty is something that is highly encouraged and is generally valued, I don’t think it’s always the best policy. Sometimes hearing the truth is a good thing, and being honest can take you far in your friendships, partnerships, and family relations. On the other hand, it can also hurt those relationships.
There are certain situations when maintaining a level of discretion regarding information-sharing is more responsible than revealing everything. For example, doctors are bound to certain confidentiality rules, which may lead them to keep certain information hidden for the benefit of their patient. A different situation may warrant a person to tell the entire story, like when a police officer interrogates a suspect. Both situations have their merits.
Personal values are also strong drivers for determining honesty as the best policy. While people may prioritize honesty over all other values, others may feel that protecting others’ feelings is more important, thus warranting greater priority over honesty. It all depends on who you are talking and their experiences with people.
Growing up as an athlete, I knew nothing but brute honesty, regardless of the circumstance. I always wanted to know how I did in a game, in practice, and what I could to improve. Some of my coaches sugar coated their feedback; others didn’t hold back at all. Although some of the more honest comments were difficult to hear, they ultimately made me grow as a person and an athlete. Nonetheless, I would often avoid my coaches in fear of what they would say until I was in a better mindset to receive their constructive criticism.
Honesty is the standard, but it’s not the rule. I hate hurting people’s feelings, so there are times when I don’t tell the whole truth. There is also a fine line between being honest and being harsh. Telling the truth to a friend or a family member is something we should strive to do, but not at the expense of hurting them.